ARS Saturday School Students Celebrate Karabakh 10th Anniversary

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the liberation movement of Karabakh the Armenian Relief Society’s Saturday school program held an observance Sunday–Feb. 15 in Montebello’s Baghramian Hall–where a capacity audience was treated to a special evening.

The mood of the evening was set during a performance of revolutionary songs by Nersik Isbirian–who–while singing "Dzayn toor ov Fedayee" and "Ayroonot Trosh," inspired the children to begin dancing circle dances in the auditorium.

Chairwoman of the Regional Executive of the ARS Alice Madenlian–in her opening remarks–made it clear this 10th anniversary celebration of Karabakh’s liberation was one dedicated to the youth–as it would be the youth who would carry on the struggle long after the celebrations were over.

"The February Revolt and what it stood for went a long way in giving meaning to the Karabakh struggle and all struggles after it," Madenlian said. "It is pride–and the desire to live free–and the desire to do it in our own country that drives us–and it is that which we pass on to you here today. Be proud that you are the next to take on this struggle–and be proud of those who gave their lives before you for it. Let us respect their memory."

Madenlian went on to add that with the recent resignation of Levon Ter-Petrosyan–Armenia’s future can now resume its proper course. She said that the country had lived in unfair conditions as of late–and that Ter-Petrosyan had dishonored the lives of those who died to make Karabakh free by sitting down at the bargaining table and proposing concessions.

Madenlian concluded by saying that just like in the days of the February Revolt when prisoners like today’s Hrand Markarian and Vahan Hovanessian walked free from their cells–today–Armenia is on the road to free speech and respect of human rights.

Sunday’s three-hour event included exhibitions of dance–art work and poetry by the students–who were all wearing special Artsakh t-shirts to open the event on stage. Remembering that these children only interacted in an Armenian environment once a week–the event was special indeed.

On the walls to the left and right sides of the auditorium were displays of the children’s artwork themed after Artsakh complete with tri-colors–the Karabakh mountains–and other images. "Artsakh is free and independent Armenia’s first home," was written on one project.

Lilit Parseghian was the evening’s mistress of ceremonies–and welcomed the attendees to the event.

"I would like to observe one minute of silence for those souls who have transcended to heaven–and who have given their lives for the liberation of the Ketashens and Martunashens of Artsakh," Parseghian said. "Those people are the real heroes of Armenia’s–or Karabakh’s liberation."

Ashot Minassian’s inspiring music of Karabakh began the ceremony.

Conducted by Alfred Mardoyan–the school choir opened the ceremony by singing "Mer Hyrenik,"Sardarabad" and "Ketashen." William Saroyan’s "The Armenian," was also recited by one group of students–followed by other individual poetry and literary recitations.

Following a 15-minute intermission–a dance program by the "Nayree" Chapter of the ARS was presented–featuring dances from Armenia and Karabakh.

A final recitation of Baruyr Sevak’s "Keetch Enk–Payts Hye Enk," was performed by the students to close the evening’s program.

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